Lurking beneath the façade of an NPR affiliate is a substantial blues and jazz format helmed by two of the brightest jewels in Phoenix's musical crown.

Music coordinator and classically trained performer Blaise Lantana hosts the 7-to-11 block, bringing her discerning ear to an acoustic jazz playlist that regularly features a generous stock of the greats as well as the often overlooked (a Cannonball Adderley two-fer, anyone?). The erudite Lantana can teach even the most hardened jazz police a new tune or two. The acoustic jazz format continues straight through 'til 3 a.m.

Sunday evenings from 6 to 11 are helmed by Rhythm Room impresario Bob Corritore, with Those Lowdown Blues, a sampler of roots and blues music so informed that Corritore ought to charge classroom lab fees. "Smilin' Bob" sets authenticity above commerciality for this gravy-rich slice of Americana, doing for Valley airwaves what the Rhythm Room's been doing for Valley live music since the mid-'80s.

As country music's popularity and sales continue to fall from its mid-'90s high point, the blame can be laid squarely at the doorstep of radio programmers who continue to promote hopelessly manufactured-sounding pap and try to pawn it off as country gold. Not so with KXKQ, which is based in Safford in eastern Arizona but broadcasts in the Valley. Though the station does mix in a fair selection of new country acts, the real attraction of its playlist is its adherence to old-school masters like Merle Haggard and George Jones. Besides offering up the big names from yesteryear, KXKQ plays its fair share of lost classics, hard-core honky-tonk and gen-u-wine tales about cheatin', drinkin', and truckin' that you won't find on an other frequency in town. Yee-haw!
As country music's popularity and sales continue to fall from its mid-'90s high point, the blame can be laid squarely at the doorstep of radio programmers who continue to promote hopelessly manufactured-sounding pap and try to pawn it off as country gold. Not so with KXKQ, which is based in Safford in eastern Arizona but broadcasts in the Valley. Though the station does mix in a fair selection of new country acts, the real attraction of its playlist is its adherence to old-school masters like Merle Haggard and George Jones. Besides offering up the big names from yesteryear, KXKQ plays its fair share of lost classics, hard-core honky-tonk and gen-u-wine tales about cheatin', drinkin', and truckin' that you won't find on an other frequency in town. Yee-haw!
Starting with the morning Wake Up Show featuring Chino and the ever-horny Clarissa Jenkins, through multiple-mix sets like the midday Digging in the Crates show, to Flashback Fridays, Power 92 has put a lock on its ownership of the Valley's hip-hop airwaves. Meanwhile, the Power 92 van has become a ubiquitous presence on city streets, and the station has reached out to the local community sponsoring appearances by rapper Snoop Dogg and comedian Jamie Foxx, a memorial concert to Roger Troutman and the best bills featuring talent of the up-and-coming variety.
Starting with the morning Wake Up Show featuring Chino and the ever-horny Clarissa Jenkins, through multiple-mix sets like the midday Digging in the Crates show, to Flashback Fridays, Power 92 has put a lock on its ownership of the Valley's hip-hop airwaves. Meanwhile, the Power 92 van has become a ubiquitous presence on city streets, and the station has reached out to the local community sponsoring appearances by rapper Snoop Dogg and comedian Jamie Foxx, a memorial concert to Roger Troutman and the best bills featuring talent of the up-and-coming variety.
Guided by the shrewd vision of local arts wunderkind Charles Levy, Nita's is a welcome midsize venue in a town with more than its quota of overpriced stadiums and cramped coffee houses. Ever supportive of local talent, Nita's has become a necessary rite of passage for Valley bands looking to graduate from dad's garage to Phoenix's club scene, but Levy's particular genius lies in bringing remarkable talents to the venue's intimate space. Performers who've graced Nita's indoor and outdoor stages in the past year include Mogwai, the Melvins, Joseph Arthur, Wheat, Built to Spill, Calexico, J. Mascis, and Mike Watt, to name but a handful. On one thrilling evening, the generations came together peacefully when Dr. Ralph Stanley played a two-show engagement. Mudhoney opened its (supposed) last set of live shows here while the big portrait of JFK looked on serenely, from its eternal post beside the men's room door. All this, plus the most eclectic jukebox in the Valley (and possibly the world), makes Nita's the place to bring visiting friends, when they ask what there is to hear in this burg.

Guided by the shrewd vision of local arts wunderkind Charles Levy, Nita's is a welcome midsize venue in a town with more than its quota of overpriced stadiums and cramped coffee houses. Ever supportive of local talent, Nita's has become a necessary rite of passage for Valley bands looking to graduate from dad's garage to Phoenix's club scene, but Levy's particular genius lies in bringing remarkable talents to the venue's intimate space. Performers who've graced Nita's indoor and outdoor stages in the past year include Mogwai, the Melvins, Joseph Arthur, Wheat, Built to Spill, Calexico, J. Mascis, and Mike Watt, to name but a handful. On one thrilling evening, the generations came together peacefully when Dr. Ralph Stanley played a two-show engagement. Mudhoney opened its (supposed) last set of live shows here while the big portrait of JFK looked on serenely, from its eternal post beside the men's room door. All this, plus the most eclectic jukebox in the Valley (and possibly the world), makes Nita's the place to bring visiting friends, when they ask what there is to hear in this burg.

Mercy, it's hot, and that can only mean that the spotlight's going up at the Rhythm Room, where co-owner and booker Bob Corritore has been keeping the dirty blue flame lit for nigh onto a decade. The site plays host to legends of the form like R.L. Burnside and Henry Gray, and it also provides a historically rooted training ground for up-and-comers like the Royal Crowns and the North Mississippi All-Stars. With the RR's deep, wide layout and sunken dance floor, it's tough to find a bad seat, and the sound is generally nothing short of superb. The styles encompass swing and jump boogie, Delta blues, rockabilly retro, country slide and acoustic jazz. The variety and range of national acts can lend a happy air of unpredictability: When Southern Culture on the Skids last played the RR, they set up a half-barrel chicken grill in the parking lot for the ticket line and hired an exotic dancer for their road manager's birthday. You just can't put a price on that kind of cool.
The Rhythm Room
Mercy, it's hot, and that can only mean that the spotlight's going up at the Rhythm Room, where co-owner and booker Bob Corritore has been keeping the dirty blue flame lit for nigh onto a decade. The site plays host to legends of the form like R.L. Burnside and Henry Gray, and it also provides a historically rooted training ground for up-and-comers like the Royal Crowns and the North Mississippi All-Stars. With the RR's deep, wide layout and sunken dance floor, it's tough to find a bad seat, and the sound is generally nothing short of superb. The styles encompass swing and jump boogie, Delta blues, rockabilly retro, country slide and acoustic jazz. The variety and range of national acts can lend a happy air of unpredictability: When Southern Culture on the Skids last played the RR, they set up a half-barrel chicken grill in the parking lot for the ticket line and hired an exotic dancer for their road manager's birthday. You just can't put a price on that kind of cool.

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